1. NSAIDs linked to heart attack

    Meds can turn a winter cold into a cardiac emergency

    Is there anything worse than the misery of yet another mid-winter respiratory infection?

    It certainly doesn't feel like it... not when you're coughing up a lung... battling a fever... and trying to cope with what feels like pain in every muscle.

    But there IS something far worse -- and if you pop some painkillers to fight that fever or ease those aching muscles, you can get a firsthand lesson in what it is.

    New research exposes another risk of common NSAID drugs, finding that taking them while battling the flu, a cold, or any other type of respiratory infection can increase your risk of a heart attack.

    Pop them at home, and your risk of a heart attack more than triples.

    And if you're so sick that you're hospitalized... and those drugs are given to you intravenously... your heart risk jumps by SEVEN TIMES.

    Think you're in the clear if you're not sick?

    Think again -- because the study finds that even if you're not battling any kind of respiratory infection, NSAIDs can STILL increase your heart risk by 50 percent.

    Of course, respiratory infections -- even without painkillers -- can also take a toll on your ticker. An infection alone can cause your risk of a heart attack to jump by 2.7 times, according to the study out of Taiwan.

    But overall, the risk is highest -- by far -- in folks who take the meds while battling an infection.

    The researchers behind the new study are calling on docs to warn their patients of the risk, which is just common sense.

    Most of them will no doubt ignore that warning, and others will simply tell their patients to switch from one bad med to another.

    Instead of NSAIDs, they might recommend a drug such as acetaminophen, which comes with more than a few risks of its own.

    It's time to take a different approach.

    There's a safe way to fight respiratory infections and avoid all those risks, and it starts with that old cliché: The best OFFENSE is a good DEFENSE.

    Right now, while you're healthy, boost your immune system with natural infection fighters such as vitamin D and a quality probiotic supplement. In addition, I recommend 600 mg of N-acetylcysteine twice a day during winter to prevent flu, cold and other respiratory infections, including bronchitis.

    If you happen to get sick, increase the dose to between 2,000 mg and 3,000 mg per day for up to a week and you'll get better quicker.

    I'm not done with the risks of painkillers yet.

    Keep an eye on your inbox -- because later today I'll have some news you won't believe.

  2. NSAIDs could damage your heart

    Common painkillers linked to heart failure

    It's common knowledge these days: You don't need a prescription to get a "prescription" painkiller.

    Many people with chronic pain have figured out that the only difference between, say, a prescription version of ibuprofen and the one sold over the counter is the dose.

    So they just pop an extra pill or two... or three... in the mistaken assumption that it must be safe, since it's pretty much the same as the prescription med.

    Well, my friend, there's nothing "safe" about ANY dose of ibuprofen -- and those high doses can have devastating consequences, whether they come from a prescription given by your doctor or popping an extra pill or two on your own.

    They could even KILL you, because new research shows that common NSAIDs can increase your risk of heart failure.

    This isn't a "someday" risk that comes from using and abusing the drugs for years or even months.

    Within two weeks of getting a prescription for an NSAID, your risk of hospitalization for heart failure jumps by 19 percent -- especially with the use of the NSAIDs diclofenac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, ketorolac, naproxen, nimesulide, and piroxicam.

    The two names that stand out most are ibuprofen (a.k.a. Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (a.k.a. Aleve), which are used daily by millions of Americans.

    The higher the dose, the higher the risk -- and the heaviest users of all face DOUBLE the risk of heart failure with certain drugs, including diclofenac, indomethacin, and piroxicam.

    The researchers say that while they focused on prescriptions because they used drug records for the study, the risk could apply at lower doses -- including over-the-counter doses -- as well as in people who double up on those meds to get more relief.

    And that's not the only heart risk.

    Just last year, the FDA itself fired off a warning that NSAID painkillers including Advil, Aleve, and Celebrex can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

    NSAID painkillers have also been linked to clots, irregular heartbeat, leaky gut, and even sex problems, so limit these drugs to very occasional use or -- better yet -- not at all.

    The best solution for your pain will depend on the cause, but many respond well to topical MSM for short-term relief.

    Over the long term, you need to work closely with a doc to find and fix the cause rather than cover up the symptom.

    For arthritis in the knees, for example, UC-II collagen can help protect and strengthen the cartilage in the joint. For back pain, you may need help changing bad habits or someone who can spot an old undiagnosed injury.

    Work closely with a skilled holistic medical doctor.

    If you're in Southern California, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

    Not in the San Diego area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

  3. NSAIDs can cause leaky gut syndrome

    Regular use of NSAID painkillers can wreck the intestine and increase the risk of leaky gut, a dangerous disorder that can damage the immune system.
  4. Common painkillers linked to atrial fibrillation

    Common NSAID painkillers can increase your risk of atrial fibrillation, according to new research.
  5. Prescription painkillers increase heart risk

    Common NSAID painkillers can increase the risk of heart attack and death, according to a new study.
  6. Natural cures for the ringing in the ear called tinnitus

    A study finds that psychotherapy and ocean sounds can ease tinnitus -- but there are some easier treatments that can do even more to stop the ringing for good.
  7. Painkillers up miscarriage risk

    You wouldn't dream of pumping a newborn full of powerful painkillers like ibuprofen -- yet nearly a fifth of all pregnant women take these meds during pregnancy... and it's killing their unborn children.
  8. Painkillers boost heart risk

    Researchers say non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can boost the risk of another attack or even death by as much as 45 percent in a single week of use -- and by 55 percent after three months.

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